Update, April 4th, 2018, 11:03 a.m. PST: After a lawsuit was filed by filmmaker Charlie Kessler claiming that Matt and Ross Duffer took his idea for Stranger Things, an attorney for the Duffer Brothers has responded, and vehemently denied the allegation: “Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless,” Alex Kohner said. “He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”
Stranger Things may be one of the biggest shows in the world, but one filmmaker is accusing the Duffer Brothers of stealing his idea for their hit Netflix series. Filmmaker Charlie Kessler has filed a lawsuit alleging that Matt and Ross Duffer stole the idea for Stranger Things from his 2012 short film Montauk. The six-minute short is set around a government experiment on the Long Island hamlet. According to the lawsuit, Kessler revealed that while looking to expand the short into a feature-length film or series, he pitched the idea — tentatively called The Montauk Project — to the Duffers while at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014.
According to Kessler, the Duffer Brothers used the idea when pitching their series Montauk (which was later changed to Stranger Things) to Netflix.
As most Stranger Things fans know, before moving to Hawkins, Indiana, the hit series was initially set in Montauk. So there are a number of similarities between Montauk and Stranger Things, including a government conspiracy, out of control monster, missing kid at the center of the story, and beleaguered cop investigating the case.
That’s right, people. NOTHING IS SACRED ANYMORE.
But similarities between the two projects aside, it’s important to point out that both are reportedly based on a very real conspiracy theory about government experiments in Montauk.
While the Duffer Brothers haven’t confirmed that Stranger Things is based on the Montauk conspiracy, the cast revealed the ties last year. Speaking with Wired, Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo revealed that the series was inspired by rumors of a secret government lab at Montauk’s Camp Hero State Park during the Cold War. Kessler’s short film was also reportedly inspired by the conspiracy surrounding the mysterious events at Camp Hero.
Production for Season 3 of the hit series is set to begin sometime this month.